Public Employee Sick Days Under Attack – Again

Here we go again.

Ohio Republicans have again introduced a bill to limit the number of sick days for public employees. House Bill 298, sponsored by Rep. Derek Merrin (R-Monclova Township), will receive its second hearing this afternoon in the House State and Local Government Committee.

And Ohio Council 8 members were there to greet them by packing the hearing room.

(Ohio Council 8 activists packed the hearing room to protest HB 298 as an attack on collective bargaining)

“This legislative meddling in local employer and employee relations is another attack on our collective bargaining rights,” said Ohio Council 8 Political and Legislative Director Robert Davis.

“The union and management know what is best for their workplace and have successfully resolved this issue.  This bill is a solution in search of a problem.  It’s unnecessary and a distraction from other critical work that needs to be done by our elected officials,” he said.

A similar proposal was included in last year’s biennial budget but was pulled after public outcry and lobbying from AFSCME at the Statehouse. In addition to restricting collective bargaining rights, HB 298 hurts working families. For example, if a child becomes sick and is quarantined at home, without the ability to take sick leave, parents are left to scramble to find suitable childcare or go without pay, or worse – lose their job.

Continued attacks on workers from Statehouse Republicans must be stopped. AFSCME Council 8 is committed to fighting HB 298 and proposals like it and will oppose the bill during committee testimony.

Mansfield City Council Opposes Dirty Half Dozen Amendments

On Tuesday, the Mansfield City Council voted 6-2 to pass a bill condemning six proposed amendments to Ohio’s Constitution.

The amendments, known as Becker’s Dirty Half Dozen, have been introduced by Cincinnati Republican John Becker and are aimed at destroying the rights of working people to unionize. The amendments will reduce wages, benefits, and pensions for working people and their families, and will lead to more accidents and deaths. These amendments are anti-worker, anti-family, and will take money out of the pockets of hardworking Ohioans and put it in the bank accounts of out-of-state billionaires.

Dan Mapes, President of AFSCME Local 3308 in Mansfield, asked Council to unanimously approve the bill to oppose these six amendments before the vote.

(Dan Mapes, President AFSCME Local 3308)

“These amendments would have negative impacts on communities that are already struggling, and they’re all Right to Work measures,” he said. “Right to Work, it’s not what it says it is, and it’s absolutely not right for Ohio and the hardworking people that live here.”

Mapes said the changes would apply to all workers, not just those in unions.

“It covers everybody that puts boots on in the morning,” he said. “Anybody that works for a living is subject to these six constitutional changes.”

Fourth Ward councilman Butch Jefferson won applause from the audience after saying he opposed the six amendments.

“I understand unions. I know what they’re about,” he said. “They are so much responsible for a lot of the benefits and perks that workers have…There’s always somebody fighting the working man, trying to get rid of their benefits and perks that unions for years and years have fought for.”

Jefferson told the union members to “keep fighting,” saying, “As long as I’m up here, you will have my support.”

AFSCME Council 8 strongly opposes these six amendments and applauds the actions of the Mansfield City Council to stop them from becoming law.

Cenia Willis Obituary

On behalf of the officers and leadership of AFSCME Ohio Council 8, it is with regret we inform you of the passing of Toledo union leader Sister Cenia M. Willis.

A 40-year union member, she was a member of AFSCME Local 272 and later Local 2174, which both represent Toledo school board employees.

“Cenia was reliable, trustworthy, and straightforward. She was the salt of the Earth,” said AFSCME Ohio Council 8 President John A. Lyall. “She was Toledo’s “go-to” person and was always ready to work for AFSCME’s members anywhere she was needed. Her community was Ohio,” he said.

Starting as a substitute secretary and security dispatcher with the Toledo Public Schools, after 39 years and one month on the job, she retired as a Security Specialist.

“She was always for the little guy and people listened to her because she knew what she was talking about,” said former Ohio Council 8 Toledo Regional Director George Tucker. “And she had a beautiful singing voice,” he added.

As a member of AFSCME Local 2174, Willis served as president, vice president, and treasurer. In 1987, she was elected as a Toledo Regional Vice President and served on the AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Executive Board until 1995.

She returned to the board in 2003 as Recording Secretary and served until she retired from the board in 2011. In retirement, she continued to serve Council 8 members as a retiree representative on the union’s executive board.

Willis also served on the Ohio AFL-CIO executive board and was chairperson of the Toledo Chapter of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists.

The Year Ahead

The Year Ahead

As we look forward to a new year, I hope you and your families had a joyous holiday season. One that has been a chance for all of us to relax with family and friends, and regroup for the challenges that lie ahead.

In 2018, job number one is to stay AFSCME Strong. In the face of an expected Supreme Court ruling that creates a national right-to-work law, we must stand together and work together to defend the gains we’ve made.

In spite of this and other challenges facing our union, I remain optimistic. Here’s why.

Ohio Council 8 members continue to stay AFSCME Strong. We’re negotiating stronger contracts that raise wages and improve benefits. We continue organizing new local unions, and in our established locals, we’re convincing more and more fee-payers to become union members.

In addition, AFSCME’s free college degree program through Eastern Gateway Community College is opening the door of opportunity to every member and their families. A benefit that adds even more value to belonging to the union.

Some question the strength of unions in America today. But recent polls show public support for unions increased to over 58 percent. In addition, two-thirds of young workers support unions and would join one if they could.

This is our time. We can accomplish great things standing together and working together. And I know AFSCME members and retirees are up to the task.

On behalf of AFSCME Ohio Council 8 First Vice President Harold Mitchell and the AFSCME Ohio Council 8 executive board, I would like to wish you and your family a very happy New Year.

In Solidarity,

John Lyall
President, AFSCME Council 8

Desposito Appointed to Retirement Board

Desposito Appointed to Retirement Board

The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System Board of Trustees (SERB) has appointed AFSCME Local 2415 President Randy Desposito to fill a vacancy on the 11-member board.

A Critical Care Nurse and long-time member of the union for University of Toledo Medical Center Employees, Desposito will represent non-teaching State College and University employees on the board’s governing body.

“I am committed to the long-term survival of our retirement system and will work to make sure it continues to provide meaningful benefits to career public employees,” Desposito said.

The Board is responsible for the administration and management of OPERS. Board members also authorize the investments made with the system’s funds. They receive no compensation for their service to OPERS.

He joins AFSCME Local 3360 Cleveland MetroHealth President Julie Albers, former Ohio Council 8 Dayton Regional Vice President Ken Thomas, and AFSCME Local 11/OCSEA President Chris Mabe on the board.

Desposito will stand for election to the board in 2018.

Toledo City Workers Make Gains

By a 499 to 64 vote, AFSCME Local 7 members approved a new contract with the city of Toledo.  The contract was also unanimously approved by city council.

In addition, to an across-the-board five percent pay raise, over the life of three-year contract, negotiators were able to hold the line on health care with no increase. Other gains include an increase in hazardous duty pay and improvements in vacation language.

According to AFSCME Local 7 President Don Czerniak, “this was a win-win for union members and the city.  With the strong backing of Toledo Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson, the administration was committed to offer competitive wages and we were able to keep skilled workers on the job serving the citizens of our city,” he said. 

AFSCME Local 7 represents over 800 city employees, including utility workers, heavy equipment operators and skilled laborers.  Toledo Regional Director Steve Kowalik led the negotiations for the union.

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Long-time AFSCME Local 544 members to retire

Long-time AFSCME Local 544 members to retire

 

Lucas County commissioners honored two Sanitary Engineer Department employees for their years of service. 35-year employee Scott Novak (right photo center) and 30-year employee Tim McDermott will retire before the end of the year. (left photo center). Both are long-time members of the Technical and Service Chapter of AFSCME Local 544, the union for Lucas County employees.

 

AFSCME Local 544 also represents county Job and Family Service employees, Child Support Enforcement and Children Services Board employees, along with employees of the Coroners Office and the County Recorders Office.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is a time for families, a time to love, to give, and a time to reflect on the things that matter most in life — each other.  The same is true of our Union family.

It’s also a time to take stock of the past year. 2017 has been a year unlike any other. But we’ve made gains and built a stronger AFSCME Ohio Council 8 that’s ready to brave the coming tests.  And we have done it all as a family, as a Union.

With many forces working against us, we have continued to organize new members, represent you on the job and bargain strong contracts.  We should also be very proud of our success making our union AFSCME Strong.

Next year AFSCME will face a hostile U. S. Supreme Court set to make right-to-work the law of the land for public employees.  And to the Nation Labor Relations Board will continue tear down private sector worker rights.

With the strength of our members, activists, retirees, and our local union leadership, our Union will continue to take on the challenges facing Ohio’s working families.

We’ve always stuck together and looked out for each other and I am confident we will continue to do so.  We all have much to be thankful for.

First Vice President Harold Mitchell and the Ohio Council 8 Executive Board join me in thanking you for the work you do.

In Solidarity,

John A. Lyall
President AFSCME Ohio Council 8

GOP tax plan hurts communities, working families Lyall says

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NOVEMBER 3, 2017

GOP tax plan hurts communities, working families Lyall says.

Worthington – AFSCME Ohio Council 8 President John A. Lyall, issued the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives issued its tax hand-out plan that takes care of millionaires and corporations, but hurts working families:

“The tax plan released by congressional leaders yesterday will hurt the communities that public employees work around the clock to keep safe, healthy and strong. Working families are already struggling, while the super wealthy and corporations rig the rules to line their own pockets.

“Paying for these huge tax cuts will make the national debt skyrocket which Congress will use as an excuse to force cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and other vital programs our communities and families depend on.

“The same working families Congress and the President promised to help are picking up the tab again. Under their plan, the tax breaks being eliminated are those that benefit working families. In fact, many middle class families, including Council 8 members, would see their taxes go up. This is because their plan would eliminate popular deductions such as student loan interest payments, as well as the deduction for state and local income or sales taxes.

“This dangerous tax plan doubles down on the same policies that have only helped the rich and powerful grow more rich and powerful, and failed the rest of us.”

AFSCME Ohio Council 8 represents approximately 38,000 public and private sector employees who work in a wide range of local government, health care, and education. For more information visit our web site at afscmecouncil8.org

AFSCME Victory in Iowa

The money donated at Council 8’s Dayton Convention to help Iowa’s AFSCME members defend their union paid a big dividend when public employees won a land-slide victory to stay AFSCME Strong in the state’s first re-certification election!

Earlier this year, Iowa’s Republican-controlled state government passed anti-labor laws that gutted public sector collective bargaining.  Looking to cripple unions even more, unions must hold an election to re-certify their union before negotiating new contracts.

Iowa’s results are in. With 88 percent participation, nearly 28,500 AFSCME represented employees voted to re-certify while a mere 624 voted against the union – a pro-union margin of better than 400 to 1.

Had Council 61 failed to get a majority of union and non-members, its current contract would have been immediately repealed and a two-year waiting period imposed before workers could hold another representation vote.

“It shows that public-sector employees, working men and women, both members and non-members, want to have a union, want to have a voice at the table,” Danny Homan, president of AFSCME Iowa Council 61, told The Des Moines Register. “I believe this sends a very strong message.”

In addition to a heartfelt “thank-you”, Homan’s message to Council 8 members is “You can’t take for granted that what you have today will be there tomorrow. What happened in Wisconsin and Iowa, can happen to Ohio.

“You have to get engaged in the political process to elect people who are going to do what’s right for working men and women and what’s right for the labor movement,” Homan said.

Council 61 President Danny Homan compares the state workers 100-page contract with the 12-page contract after the collective bargaining law was dismantled.

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